The other day, I struggled with giving tithes and offerings to church. It bothers me sometimes because I don’t know exactly what is “my” money being used for. I can have faith that it will be used for a good cause (feeding the poor, giving homes to homeless, helping the elderly, etc) but I don’t know for sure. I prefer to give directly to charity, so that I “know” what is it being used for.
This blog is about giving; about the importance of serving others without expecting immediate reward, just what Jesus taught us in the Beautitudes (Matthew 5). But I can’t deny feeling a little uncomfortable with giving up some of my “possession” to others, especially after knowing that I worked hard to earn it. But at the same time, I think of when Jesus taught about denying the self, walking the narrow path, for a camel to go through the eye of a needle easier than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And then I say to myself, “Self, this is exactly what the process of living the Kingdom of Heaven entails: sacrificing the selfish, giving up the natural tendencies of my body in order to serve others, and therefore get closer to God”.
When I expressed my discomfort to my wife about giving the offerings, she quoted the Bible “God provided, God took away” (Job 1:21). I contemplated on this. I then thought about it further. I concluded that I don’t own anything.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” Psalm 24:1. The Bible is actually full of verses that repeatedly mention that we don’t own anything. But God is the one who does (Exodues 9:29, Job 41:11, Haggain 2:8). Not even my own body belongs to me (1 Corinthians 6:19). If I think that I own the house I live in, the car I drive, the money I spend, the body that sustains me, then what do I do with them when my body dies ?(1 Timothy 6:7). Nothing. We like to pretend so much. We like to be our own gods. We like to live the illusion that what we have is actually ours. It gives us a false sense of security. The material things give us the fantasy that we can control things around us, including our selves. Not even the children that my wife gave birth to our mine! And this last statement actually hurts me a lot! I can’t deny this feeling! But the reality is, when my children grow up, what will I do to them? Trying to continue to “own” them by overprotecting them, by giving them too many advices, will actually damage the relationship I will have with them. The key is to let go, and when I let go of something, do I really own it? No.